German submarine carrying Russian navigation gear evoke lawmakers to stay vigilant

Reports from Cologne (Germany) indicated that there is some evidence that the presence of Russian manufactured navigation systems is being installed in German Submarine.  

Plot: 

Articles from a famous Germany newspaper agency (Tabloid Bild) have prompted lawmakers to investigate the issue claiming that Russian navigation tools are installed in German submarine. 

The article further states that the equipment is no other than the famous Navi Sailor 4100, an ECDIS(Electronic Chart Display and Information System).

ECDIS is developed and created by Transas, a Saint Petersburg-based company. Transas sold a branch to a Finish company named Wärtsilä back in 2018.

Background: 

Navi-sailor is a digitized nautical map; many of the vessels have a 4000-series version installed in it. Navi sailor was one of the top choices for western naval security in the past.

What’s the update:  

From Tabloid Bild’s article, it is clear that Germany and Transas had some defense projects associations back in 2005 regarding the German navel’s equipment. Pictures circulating over Twitter by a shamus work as proof; the image shows Transas equipment installation to a German frigate called Brandenburg.

German navy’s spokesman told a news network about the risks related to the navy vessels and subs, this study of risks was then conceded and classified. He further explained the importance of navigation, geological equipment, and why a submarine maintains its secrecy to avoid exposure or traces of its presence near enemies to surprise them while launching an assault. The analysts had analyzed the importance of navigation and found the nemesis lying in the way of military operations way earlier. Achilles heels can cause clever adversaries to intercept and jam signals e.g. marking fake GPS positions to confuse or diverge the forces.

Bottom line: 

According to Tabloid news agency, the encryption levels of Transas are below standards (for military use). Jermy (naval analyst at Uni. of Kiel, Germany) said “the hype of this news is justifiable as the situation is alarming and should be notified that what kind of equipment is being installed to the limited number of submarine used by the German navy and what are the potential risks of using such systems.” 

Many lawmakers are demanding answers from the German defense committee on this matter. Linder’s office questioned the German Ministry of Defense back in November 2020 about the same issue. 

Moreover, a spokesman for Transas (owned by Wärtsilä) in their defense said that it has no relation/connection to Transas Russia’s branch. Furthermore, he said, “the company’s former owner had a defense systems contract back in 2015, but now the company does not own any previous contracts. 

Wärtsilä acquired Transas in 2018 just for the sake of commercial marine business, and the navigation systems are up to the industry standards with the addition of cybersecurity modules and tools.

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